Meade County was created in 1887 when "Voters in eastern Lawrence County voted 690 to 29 in favor of segregating from Lawrence County to become Meade County.”
Meade County is governed by an elected Board of Commissioners. Members represent five unique districts within the county and serve four year terms. Commission meeting agendas and minutes are available online.
Regular commission meetings are scheduled for the first consecutive Tuesday and Wednesday of each month. Wednesday is most commonly used for public input.
Tuesday sessions start at 8:30 am. Wednesday sessions begin at 10 am and sometimes extend into the evening for public input. Special meetings can also be announced and conducted. The commission meets at the Erskine Building, 1300 Sherman Street in Sturgis.
The commission regularly appoints citizens to advisory boards addressing planning, resource conservation, mental health, housing and redevelopment, juvenile detention, and much more. County residents wishing to serve may complete a citizen interest application found at the Meade County website. Committee openings are announced through the press and may be found at the above address under press releases.
Law enforcement, emergency medical transportation, and road maintenance are of equal concern county-wide, and county government at times has had to work hard to find ways for maintaining quality services in sparsely populated areas.
Issues that have prompted considerable public comment in recent years have included zoning related to the annual Sturgis motorcycle rally and possible development adjacent to Bear Butte, a sacred site for several native peoples. The National Trust for Historic Preservation lists Bear Butte as one of “11 Most Endangered Places” in 2011.
For calendar year 2016, the commission approved a total county budget of $21,225,100.00, utilizing locally generated county tax revenues. (Source, county auditor’s office) The public can see the budget document at the county auditor’s office, 1300 Sherman Street, Sturgis, Monday-Friday from 8 am – 5 pm.
Philanthropy and Nonprofits
According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, Meade County has six private foundations with over 924,755 dollars in combined assets reported for 2013. The 5 largest foundations are as follows.
- Meade School District 46-1 Charitable Trust
- James E. Shea and Lillian E. Shea Charitable Trust
- Clover Charitable Fund
- Margery L. Orr Memorial Scholarship Fund
- Sturgis Rally Charities Fund
For the county's voting history, visit Meade County's Elections Information website. The site also provides information on how to register to vote and a map of voting precincts in the county.
A list of polling places in Meade County can be found here.
Public notices for Meade County can be accessed through the South Dakota Newspaper Association's public notices website. Select Meade County from the dropdown menu to find notices on advertisements for bids, adoption of ordinances, financial reports, hearings, and other government activities in the county.
The Black Hills Pioneer, based out of Spearfish, is a daily published newspaper. Established in 1876. This paper is the oldest business in West River South Dakota and the only locally owned newspaper in the territory. The Pioneer serves Lawrence County as well as Meade and Butte County.
The Rapid City Journal, a daily published newspaper based out of Rapid City, also provides printed news for Meade County. The Rapid City Journal began on January 5, 1878, as the Black Hills Journal. The Journal is the daily newspaper of Rapid City.